Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Sport
Kit Bag

Gary Player says love match is hampering Rory McIlroy

The National staff   |  August 1, 2013

Rory McIlroy stands with ‘caddie’ Caroline Wozniacki ahead of the US Masters in April. Andrew Redington / AFP
Rory McIlroy stands with ‘caddie’ Caroline Wozniacki ahead of the US Masters in April. Andrew Redington / AFP

Could Rory McIlroy’s high-profile relationship with the tennis star Caroline Wozniacki prevent him from fulfilling his golf potential? The nine-time major champion Gary Player, 77, thinks so and told McIlroy as much via an interview with My Sporting Life on talkSport UK.

“He’s got to be intelligent and find the right wife. If he finds the right wife, if he practices and if he’s dedicated, he could be the man,” Player said.

McIlroy, 24, is currently mired in a disappointing season, by his standards. Although he is ranked third in the world, he is 35th on the PGA Tour in scoring average and has failed to contend at a major in 2013.

The Northern Irishman has also not won since moving to new sponsors Nike at the start of the year.

Player implied that McIlroy’s commitment to travelling regularly to see Wozniacki play might mean he does not practice enough. Player said McIlroy needs a partner who is dedicated only to aiding his career.

“When you’re in love as a young man naturally golf seems to take second place for a while. It’s natural,” Player said. “Love is still the greatest thing that ever happens in our lives.

“But the thing is for a man like Rory with talent galore he’s got to make sure he has a woman like I’ve got, who has been married for 56 years, that has only encouraged me to do well and made sacrifices,” he said.

Player added: “He’ll sort it out. He’s got wonderful parents. He’s got great talent. He’ll come back.”

– The National staff